In the Deapest of Dispair… Ask.

The rain fell like a cannonade of shards of glass.

The jungle was dark and filled with the scurrying of insects and lit eyeballs of hidden creatures too scared of what light was left.

He ran.

The trees and giant leaves of the jungle blurred past and overhead as he sped through the jungle path. His breath and heartbeat obliterating all other sound.

A growl grew behind him. A piercing howl of a monkey ricocheted somewhere above him. Feces rained down on him.

He tripped on a large root that snaked across the path and was flung headlong into the mud.

The growls and hisses approached closer. The rumbling of large padded paws.

He rose and continued running. His sweat mingled with the hard rain.

Headlong he ran with no thought of his destination. With no thought but safety and peace.

Suddenly the onslaught of rain increased dramatically and the darkness of the jungle lifted slightly. For a moment he felt safer and felt his options were more open to him. Free of the path and free of the oppressiveness of the jungle.

Then the slope of the ground increased. The mud made havoc of his footing and he slid.

Screaming with a voice he could not hear he slid down the slope and then realized it was the edge of precipice. He twisted and his fingers dug into the wet earth trying to slow his decent. To no avail.

The head and shoulders of the first beast came out of the jungle and padded toward him at an amazing rate of speed. The second close behind him. In his hyper-sense of reality he could see the saliva dripping from their sharp teeth and their rabid tongues drooping and flapping to the side.

Over the edge he went.

His stomach lurched as he fell. His feet and hands flailing to find some purchase on the cliff face.

Finally he found a branch and his hands and fingers connected. He found a foot hold and steadied himself.

He was ten feet from the top of the cliff. The heads of the Beasts peered over the edge of the cliff down at him. Growling and swaying their heads in frustration.

He peered below him and in the strike of lightening saw that the fall was several hundred feet below him to sharp rocks and a dribbling stream.

A silence enveloped him as he clung to the cliff face.  All time seemed to stop. He lowered his head and peered deeply into the rock and mud in front of him.

He looked to his left in search of a larger ledge on which he could rest.

Nothing.

He looked to his right and saw nothing but a clinging bush of bright strawberries.  They defied the darkness and glowed with intensity.

He looked above and the beasts still lingering at the cliff edge frustrated and angry.

He peered below him and in a vision saw his crumpled body lying atop the sharp stones.

He looked to the strawberry bush.

He looked to the sky.

Through the hard rain he yelled at the heavens: “What should I do?”

There was a break in the rain for a moment.

A lightning strike lit up the beasts above and the abyss below.

“Eat the strawberries.” Said the Heavens in a voice clear in his head that overpowered the beating of his heart and the rasping of his breath.

“Eat the strawberries.”

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